My name is Pastor Edward Jennings Tyson. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, March 2019.
You assume when you’re diagnosed with cancer, the first thing you figure out is how to get rid of it. But that wasn’t my experience. My Urologist said that because my Gleason score was a six, we would go into active surveillance. This meant we would watch my PSA every 3 months for the first year and monitor any changes. I wasn’t sure how I felt about walking around with cancer like everything was normal, but I agreed to the plan and felt blessed that it wasn’t something that needed to be addressed immediately. Along the way, my PSA began to rise, and around February 2020, it was at a level that required another biopsy. In less than a year, my Gleason score had already increased to a 7, and my Urologist said it was time to take action.
One of the most challenging parts of cancer was coming to a decision on treatment options. My Urologist was extremely optimistic about my case. He presented 3 options for treatment and explained they would all be good choices. I was facing surgery, traditional radiation, or proton therapy.
After 39 years in ministry and parents that had faced their own battles with cancer, I wasn’t a stranger to the process. I began to get counsel from my doctors, daughter, and family. My daughter and I visited each treatment center for the various options presented. Oklahoma Proton Center was the final stop. From the moment we walked in, my daughter said, “Daddy, I’m really feeling like this is the place.” I wasn’t quick to dismiss her initial thought, but after visiting with the financial services team, I began to come to terms with other options if my insurance were to deny proton therapy.
Although I had found peace at the proton center and desired to be treated there, I began settling into the idea that I would have to have traditional radiation due to insurance. I spent time in prayer and became comfortable and thankful for the provision I could receive, even though it wasn’t my first choice. About three or four weeks later, I received a call from a gentleman from the proton center. He said, “I’m calling to let you know that you have been approved for proton therapy.”
Now being a Baptist preacher, I immediately thought of the story of the 10 lepers that were healed. Nine of them went on their way, but that tenth one came back and thanked the Lord. I realized that it was more than just a call for me. It was a spiritual divine call. This was the Lord opening a door for me. So, it was settled in my spirit, and in my mind, proton therapy was the treatment for me.
What I’ve learned through all of this is that nobody is exempt. You can walk out of a doctor’s office and have a good bill of health, and then a few weeks later, something major happens. It makes me appreciate life every day. I don’t take it for granted. I think that especially now, this has given me a great opportunity on this end, after the treatments, to be able to appreciate and now do a greater job in winning people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. To take every day and be a witness.
Yesterday has gone. Tomorrow’s not promised. All that I have is today.
Whenever I think back on not having to have traditional radiation, my only thought is, ‘Praise the Lord.’ Honestly, I keep those who have to go down a different road than proton therapy lifted up. But for my case, I’m just grateful that I could make this choice, which I believe was the right choice for Edward Jennings Tyson.
Oklahoma Proton Center
I would encourage anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis to first get the information. Be wise. Don’t brush it aside. And like I did, pursue every level. Call the Oklahoma Proton Center to speak to a doctor that specializes in proton therapy. From the time I walked in the door, everyone from the ladies at the front desk to the doctors and nurses, made me feel that I was cared for and belonged. I can’t say enough about my treatment team. When you’re talking about 28 days, Monday through Friday, that’s a lot of time spent in a cancer center. By the end of the first day, we were all friends because of their professionalism, care, and compassion. Professionalism I expect, but it was more than that. The compassion made all the difference.
I can put it like this. I walked in as a patient. By the time I finished my 28 treatment, I walked out as a part of a new family.